Britain’s Queen Elizabeth was presented with a gold medallion minted in honour of the late Nelson Mandela as she paid a visit to South Africa’s exhibit at the Chelsea Flower Show in London in May.
The South African National Biodiversity Institute (Sanbi) exhibit, incorporating a unique tribute to Mandela, was awarded a Silver Gilt medal at the show’s opening on Tuesday. The innovative exhibit, “In Harmony with Nature”, had already attracted much interest from media, celebrities and the Royal family on preview day.
The Queen made the South Africa exhibit the first stop of her traditional tour of the show. Sanbi communications director Lihle Dlamini and Alan Demby, chairman of the SA Gold Coin Exchange, presented the Queen with the commemorative medallion, bearing Mandela’s image on the obverse and Mandela’s Gold Strelitzia on the reverse.
“Exhibiting at this ‘Olympics’ of flower shows is one of the major tourism opportunities to promote South Africa and its rich natural biodiversity and cultural heritage and, with more than 150 000 visitors to the show over the next four days, the South African stand is always a major attraction,” Sanbi said in a statement.
The South Africa exhibit pays homage to Madiba with a vertical stone gabion memorial wall, inset with a pixel portrait of Nelson Mandela created from everlasting organic material in a palette of eight natural colours.
The display, which features dioramas of four different habitats, “shows clearly how Sanbi is achieving its mandate across the country by championing our exceptionally rich, life-sustaining biodiversity through exploration, conservation, sustainable use, appreciation and enjoyment for all South Africans,” Sanbi said.
“South Africa occupies only 0.8% of the world’s land area’ yet is home to nearly 3% of the world’s plants and approximately 7% of its reptiles, birds and mammals. This makes South Africa the third most biodiverse country in the world (following Indonesia and Brazil).”